I’m sharing scenes from my novel Refuge while I devote my time and energy to working through my editor’s suggested revisions. This process has been fun! I love writing fiction! My editor, Joe Coccaro at Koehler Books, has helped me to shorten scenes and to add content. He has a clear-eyed view of my novel, having not been buried in it for five years and sixty previous edits.
Here an excerpt from early in the story:
When Abel arrived, Mother appeared so harried and overwrought with her preparations for the meal and tomorrow’s feast that he lifted the baby right out of her arms. After kissing Mother’s cheek, Abel carried Judith to the shade and settled in. He couldn’t resist placing nearly constant kisses upon the infant’s small head with its soft halo of curls—babies were so precious.
Being a holy day, the children ate first. Spying him in the shade, one by one they headed toward him, each carrying their individual basket of food. Soon small eating siblings surrounded him. How he loved them! The youngest clustered at his knees, prattling away in their sweet, high-pitched voices. Their childlike words caused him to smile.
Hearing laughter and loud greetings, Abel glanced up. Cain and Lilith had arrived. They smoothed back one another’s hair, caressed each other’s arms, touched the other’s face, and finished one another’s sentences; it was almost as if they were one body already.
Abel kept his eyes focused on Cain, hoping to communicate his brotherly love with a smile, since Cain wouldn’t listen to him. He was grieved that he’d been suspicious and was glad he’d said nothing to their parents. Seeming to sense his gaze, Cain turned.
Cain’s cold expression eradicated Abel, wiping him from any consideration, as if he were of no consequence in any way—a non-entity. He felt as if he’d been struck by a physical blow. Jolted by the hatred in Cain’s eyes, Abel felt heart sore.
Have you ever imagined what kind of man Abel might have been? How would a family conflict like this play out?